Book Fairs | July 28, 2017

Sendak in the Spotlight at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair

Maurice Sendak.jpgAt the upcoming Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, September 8-10 at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, the world of Maurice Sendak comes vividly alive. In celebration of the inauguration of a new Works on Paper section, the fair will mount a gallery-style exhibition and sale of Sendak’s original works - his first solo show to be held in his native Brooklyn, now more than five years after his death in 2012.

He is considered the most important children’s book artist of the twentieth century.  When his iconic book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” was published more than fifty years ago, his editor commented that it was “the first American picture book for children to recognize that a child has powerful emotions - anger and fear, and after the anger is spent, to be where someone loves him best of all.”

Show goers will see first-hand why Sendak’s illustrations continue to be internationally beloved by children and adults all over the world. This special event will feature original drawings, watercolors, vintage posters, signed prints and etchings, most of which have never been offered for public sale. They have been collected over a period of more than a half century and largely acquired directly from the artist himself. This is an unprecedented opportunity to own a fine art print, actually produced under the artist’s supervision in 1971 from some of his favorite book images. A selection of first edition books will also be available, many of them hand-signed by Mr. Sendak, including a signed first printing of his 1963 Caldecott Award masterpiece.

His love of books began at age four when he was confined to bed with scarlet fever, and he approached his early illustration work with deep attention to accuracy and close observation of nature and animals.  He also knew that every book must have a dimension of the fantastic, where the mundane and the magical freely mix.  In “Where the Wild Things Are,” Max’s rambunctiousness, the fearful “Wild Things” themselves and the poetry in Sendak’s writing all have contributed to the book’s popularity and longevity.  

The son of Polish immigrant parents, Sendak decided to become an illustrator at age 12, after watching Walt Disney’s Fantasia.  He came of age as an illustrator in the 1950s when the market for children’s books was growing due to an historic surge in the birthrate.  When “Where the Wild Things Are” was first published, the illustrations created some controversy, as they were so different.  Little could he have foreseen the book’s enormous success and the influence he would have overall. 

Comedian Stephen Colbert spoke for the world when he said, “we are all honored to have been briefly invited into his world.”

Image: Ink and watercolor original drawing of two “Wild Things” viewing an exhibition of their creator Maurice Sendak, 11-3/4 x 10-1.4 inches. Copyright © The Maurice Sendak Foundation. The exhibition and sale of works by internationally beloved children’s book author, Maurice Sendak, at the upcoming Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, September 8-10 at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, is the first to be held in his native Brooklyn.